Last month he threatened riots over John Howard’s comments that Muslims should do more to assimilate. Now he’s being compared to Salman Rushdie for criticizing Muslims who “blindly” follow their faith.

Steyn has a great passage in his new book about the rings of supporters, apologists, opportunists, and cowards who surround every terrorist incident. It seems what we have here is a little inter-ring friction. Or, if you prefer, one of those underwater food-chain gags you see sometimes in cartoons: a little fish about to be swallowed by a bigger fish, which itself is about to be swallowed by a bigger one.

Here’s what earned him the Rushdie analogy. He’s got his head on straight for the most part, although as Steyn also mentions in his book, even with moderate Muslims there usually comes a moment where they too say something so nutty that you’re left scratching your head and wondering if they can possibly believe it. I’ll leave you to read the full article to find out what that happens to be in Ali’s case:

Dr Ali said the majority of Muslim clerics had for centuries imposed a “literalist” teaching of Islam, telling their followers that deviating from the written message would ultimately lead to their admission into hell.

“The times are changing and with the change of times, you also have to reinterpret the Koran,” he told The Australian…

Dr Ali, who is writing an academic paper entitled “Closing of the Muslim Mind”, said even Mohammed was not the “perfect model” as most Muslims believed. Asked if the prophet had character flaws, he said: “Of course – you must look at him as a human being also.”

And the immediate reply:

Australia’s most senior Islamic cleric has called for a Muslim leader to be ostracised over comments about the prophet Mohammed that he likened to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.

Taj Din al-Hilali yesterday accused the chairman of John Howard’s Islamic reference board, Ameer Ali, of selling out his religion to gain the support and financial backing of Muslim critics…

Sheik Hilali, the head of Lakemba Mosque in Sydney’s southwest, said Dr Ali’s “defamatory” remarks were akin to those that in 1989 earned Rushdie a fatwa from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.

While Sheik Hilali backed Dr Ali’s call for a reinterpretation of the Koran to fit modern times, he condemned his “dangerous” and “ignorant” comments about the prophet…

“We refuse to have him stand with us at any religious ceremony from now on, unless he revokes what he said about the faith and the prophet.”

Germany’s top cardinal says relations between Catholics and Muslims are “back to square one.” Why? Threats.

Tags: Islam religion